We’re tired, Mr. President.

Liberals and conservatives and, especially, the independents you need to reach.

We’re tired of worrying about the size and lifespan of our paychecks. We’re tired of waiting for customers to start filling our stores the way they once did. We’re tired of knowing that the next middling jobs report will be met with criticism and promises, but not solutions.

Tonight, when you accept the Democratic nomination on the blue stage of Time Warner Cable Arena, you have the opportunity to say more.

Last week, we called on Mitt Romney to use his Republican acceptance speech to provide details about his economic policies. Romney chose not to do so, and Democrats this week in Charlotte have obligingly filled in the gaps for Americans.

They’ve noted that the middle class likely will have to pay for tax cuts Romney has promised to the affluent. They’ve explained that historically, those kinds of tax cuts for “job creators” don’t result in a more robust economy.

We expect you’ll say some of the same tonight, and those contrasts, both fiscal and social, are important for voters to hear. But you also need to make a case for yourself, and it can’t be the usual case you make.

Unlike with Romney, Americans already know much of what their president believes. They know he values government as a regulator of behavior that can harm us and an investor in things that can help. They know his social values — gay marriage, abortion rights, equal pay for women.

They know, too, that what drives most of his policies is a belief that America benefits when all Americans have a chance at being better.

It’s a theme we’ve heard a lot this week, and most Americans agree with it in principle. But most Americans are concerned right now with their own wallets. Harsh as the reality may seem, this election has been and will be about our individual economies, not our collective opportunity.

Here’s another reality: Voters know that Washington won’t be much different if they decide to keep the incumbent in November.

Congress likely still will be split — or perhaps fully Republican — and those Republicans will be just as intent on obstructing the president’s vision as they have been for the previous four years.

So Americans want to know what, specifically, their president will do differently.

Beyond keeping the status quo of the Bush tax cuts, what will the administration propose to significantly help the middle class that everyone is talking so much about this week?

How, specifically, can jobs be created and a $16 trillion debt reduced?

Thus far, in part because of Republican resistance, the administration has only chipped at the surface of these issues. That resistance isn’t going away. What’s going to change this time?

In the end, different is what Americans will vote for this year, and tonight the incumbent needs to explain what his version of different will be.

We know that’s not typical fare for the last night of a national party convention. But outside the arena, Americans aren’t much in the mood for placards and confetti.

We’re tired, Mr. President. What are you going to do about it?


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